- Insurers in the large group market will be required to spend at least 85% of all premiums on medical care (that leaves 15% for administration, marketing, profit), in the small group market the standard will be 80%.
- Individuals and families under 400% of the federal poverty line who receive employer-sponsored coverage and spend 8-9.8% of their income on premiums, could “convert their tax-free employer health subsidies into vouchers that they can use to choose a health insurance plan in the new health insurance exchanges. This would allow folks more choices in selecting coverage and force insurers to compete with the exchange.
- Medicaid eligibility would be extended to everyone earning less than 133% of the federal poverty level and as a protection for states the federal government will pay for 100% of the cost until 2017 - typically a state pays nearly half the cost of Medicaid.
- Lieberman - Had it not been for Lieberman's efforts to strip away the public option the bill never would have received 60 votes. Lieberman has provided political cover for vulnerable Democrats like Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) as well as dozens of House Democrats from conservative districts.
- Nelson - The abortion concessions won by Nelson will also provide coverage for House Blue Dogs, but Nelson's greatest contribution was his insistence that the full cost of the Medicaid expansion in Nebraska be covered by the federal government forever - while the expansion in all other states is covered for only 5 years. Seem unfair? Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) summed it up well "In 2017... when we have to start phasing back from 100 percent, ... they are going to say, 'Wait, there is one state that stays at 100?' And every governor in the country is going to say, 'Why doesn’t our state stay there?'" In other words, Nelson win for Nebraska is likely a win for every state.
If Harry Reid truly has the 60 votes necessary for cloture then the stage would be set for a vote by December 24th. After that it goes to conference committee where Nancy Pelosi will need to win major concessions from House liberals in order to avoid having this deal fall apart early in the new year. Of course, early word is that House Democrat conservatives may not be willing to accept the abortion compromise...